US Greenlights Air Defense Sale To Address Ukraine’s ‘Urgent Need’ As Funding Bill Remains Stalled

Photo by JOHANNA GERON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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The U.S. approved a possible emergency sale of HAWK missile system parts and support for Ukraine worth $138 million on Tuesday as funding for additional aid remains stalled in Congress.

Ukraine made an urgent plea for maintenance and support for the HAWK medium range surface-to-air missile to maintain defense against relentless Russian drone and cruise missile attacks, the State Department said in a statement. Tuesday’s announcement followed a $300 million package of munitions support equipment the Pentagon announced in March after scrounging up funds from contract savings as the Biden administration scrambles for ways to continue supporting Ukraine, The Associated Press reported.

“Ukraine has an urgent need to increase its capabilities to defend against Russian missile strikes and the aerial capabilities of Russian forces. Maintaining and sustaining the HAWK missile system will enhance Ukraine’s ability to defend its people and protect critical national infrastructure,” the statement said. (RELATED: Russia’s Military ‘Almost Completely Reconstituted’ As Ukraine Scrambles For Weapons, Conscripts, Officials Say)

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of the possible sale on Tuesday, according to the statement.

An emergency supplemental bill containing about $60 billion in funding the Pentagon could use to back Ukraine aid has been stalled in Congress, and the last tranche of funding dried up months ago.

Selling the HAWK missile components to Ukraine supports the “national security interests of the United States,” the State Department said.

RTX Corporation, formerly known as Raytheon, will perform the brunt of the contract work alongside PROJECTXYZ, the State Department said. Associated equipment will come from U.S. Army stockpiles, country donations, commercial sources and new production.

The statement noted the sale will not diminish U.S. readiness.

A HAWK (Homing All the Way Killer) surface-to-air missile is launched at Romanian Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Force base located near Constanta, Romania. Saber Guardian 19 is an exercise co-led by the Romanian Joint Force Command and U.S. Army Europe, taking place from June 3-24 at various locations in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. Saber Guardian is an exercise co-led by the Romanian land forces and U.S. Army Europe June 3 - 24 at various locations in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania..

A HAWK (Homing All the Way Killer) surface-to-air missile is launched at Romanian Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Force base located near Constanta, Romania. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Tegan Kucera).

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed to the U.S. and partner countries to boost provisions of air defense weapons in a video address on March 29.

Also on Tuesday, the U.S. transferred thousands of machine guns, rifles, rocket grenades and ammunition rounds to Ukraine that it had confiscated from Iranian smugglers over the past few months.

Ukrainian troops are rationing ammunition amid uncertainty about future support from the U.S., Ukraine’s largest military backer. If Western partners fail to deliver ammunition and air defense assets soon, officials worry, Ukrainian armed forces positions on the front lines could collapse and Ukrainian cities rendered even more vulnerable to drone and missile attacks, Politico reported.

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